Yoga Positions at Work

Most of us have got habitual of hurting our spine by sitting in wrong posture. The more dangerous is our habit of ignoring the pain our back takes when we are not in proper sitting position. When you sit properly your pelvis is centered and the spine is erect and the pelvis supports the entire weight of the body.

Yoga have emerged as a boon to our damaged back due to wrong postures. There are simple yoga positions (yoga aasanas) that can be practiced at home or in office in a sitting position. These yoga positions (aasanas) are just perfect to provide complete relaxation to your body.

Our body is designed such that we need to sit on our sitting bones. These are located at the lower edge of the pelvis and these bones have curved ridges. When you sit correctly the pelvis supports the entire weight of the upper body including the head, neck and spine. During this process the pelvis is in a central upright position. In this posture the spine can lift up and lengthen without collapsing. At this juncture entire spine is protected because the pressure on the lower region of the spine i.e., five lumbar vertebrae are reduced.

Though the above mentioned is the correct position, most of us are used to slumping around. This is very unhealthy. This leads to a lot of problems in almost all systems of our body. When we slump our spine doesn’t get the required support because the pelvis tilts backwards as a result we collapse backwards into our chair.

This position aides poor blood circulation which leads to irritation, muscular aches and pains, fatigue, lack of concentration, constipation etc. In this position there is a constriction in the lung, which hinders and restricts breathing. Further, there is pressure on the vertebrae and the abdominal organs are squashed restricting their regular functions. Serious problems like sacroiliac and sciatic conditions, lumbago and slipped disc come into existence, when the vertebrae cannot take more pressure than required.

How to get rid of this habit?
The answer is yoga. Yoga not only describes different postures and styles (aasanas) for exercises, but yoga also emphasizes on our sitting positions and correct work surfaces. It is better to start trying it from home front. Avoid soft padded office chairs and cushions and surfaces that are squashy. At home you will probably find a wooden stool or a firm wooden chair. Once you learn sitting on this at home you can try it in office. Your correct yoga sitting position should be assumed in the below manner.

Occupy front part of your chair. Your feet should be parallel and about hip width apart and firmly flat on the floor. Knees should be a little lower than your hips and about hip width apart. In this position your pelvis is in an upright position and is centrally balanced.

You can feel your sitting bones when you move your hands under your buttocks and move your fingers to search for two rounded little protuberances. Now, sit correctly on your sitting bones and tilt your trunk forwards and backwards. Note that pressure on your hands decreases and increases accordingly. The correct position, to balance the upper body on the sitting bone is where there is maximum pressure.

In this yoga position your pelvis is in upright, central position. Now, you will be able to lift up from pelvis as your lower spine i.e., lumbar is nearer to the vertical.

Your work surface
Since desks are not provided with height adjustments having a height adjustable chair is a boon. The height of your work surface should be such that your shoulders can be kept low and back. After adjusting this check the angle of your eyes with relation to your work surface.

When you work on a sloping surface there is a perfect right relationship between the vision and the work. While working on a horizontal surface we slouch forward to find a comfy angle and distance relationship with work, which allows you to work without curving your upper back or lowering your head. Even “writing slopes” which are mould Perspex lectern type stand are good. They are affordable and worth trying. Due to their transparent surface one can easily spot shuffled papers and they have designer drawing board look. Copy holder is also used widely. These are supported stand and help by holding your work upright so that you can have a straight look, which in turn reduces the strain on your neck, shoulders muscles and spine & provides with much needed relaxation.

If enough space for a copy holder is not available then don’t keep the work to be copied in one fixed position as this may lead to spine and neck problems. The solution for this particular problem is to keep changing the position of the work, alternately so that you need not keep looking in a fixed direction. In the beginning this will look a little difficult and unnatural because you are habituated to working in one fixed direction. But keep following the directions as you can later reap the fruits of your efforts.

Follow these simple yoga positions (aasanas) at home or at work and you will reap the benefits for a long time.

Yoga Exercise 1

  • Sit in a comfortable position. Breathe slowly and deeply.
  • Visualize a situation, person, or even a belief (such as, “I’m afraid of the dark” or “I don’t want to give that public speech”) that makes you feel anxious and tense.
  • As you do this, you might see a person’s face, a place you’re afraid to go, or simply a dark cloud. Where do you see this stressful picture? Is it above you, to one side, or in front of you? How does it look? Is it big or little, dark or light? Does it have certain colors?
  • Now slowly begin to shrink the stressful picture. Continue to see the stressful picture shrinking until it is so small that it can literally be held in the palm of your hand. Hold your hand out in front of you, and place the picture in the palm of your hand.
  • If the stress has a characteristic sound (like a voice or traffic noise), hear it getting tiny and soft. As it continues to shrink, its voice or sounds become almost inaudible.
  • Now the stressful picture is so small it can fit on your second finger. Watch it shrink from there until it finally turns into a little dot and disappears.
  • Often this exercise causes feelings of amusement, as well as relaxation, as the feared stressor shrinks, gets less intimidating, and finally disappears.
Yoga Exercise 2
  • Sit in a comfortable position, your arms resting at your sides. As you take a deep breath, visualize that the earth below you is filled with the color blue. This blue color extends 50 feet below you into the earth. Now imagine that you are opening up energy centers on the bottom of your feet. As you inhale, visualize the soft blue color filling up your feet. When your feet are completely filled with the color blue, then bring the color up through your ankles, legs, pelvis, and lower back.
  • Each time you exhale, see the blue color leaving through your lungs, carrying any tension and stress with it. See the tension dissolve into the air.
  • Continue to inhale blue into your abdomen, chest, shoulders, arms, neck, and head. Exhale the blue slowly out of your lungs. Repeat this entire process five times and then relax for a few minutes.
Yoga Exercise 3
  • Sit in a comfortable position, your arms resting easily at your sides. As you take a deep breath, visualize a big balloon above your head filled with a bright red healing energy. Imagine that you pop this balloon so all the bright red energy is released.
  • As you inhale, see the bright red color filling up your head. It fills up your brain, your face, and the bones of your skull. Let the bright red color pour in until your head is ready to overflow with color. Then let the red color flow into your neck, shoulders, arms, and chest. As you exhale, breathe the red color out of your lungs, taking any tiredness and fatigue with it. Breathe any feeling of fatigue out of your body.
  • As you inhale, continue to bring the bright, energizing red color into your abdomen, pelvis, lower back, legs, and feet until your whole body is filled with red. Exhale the red color out of your lungs, continuing to release any feeling of fatigue. Repeat this process five times. At the end of this exercise, you should feel more energized and vibrant. Your mental energy should feel more vitalized and clear.

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